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Vanderbilt University has named Eben Cathey, a land use and communications consultant with broad experience working for Metro Nashville government, as senior director for local government relations.
“Eben Cathey has the perfect skill set and deep experience inside Metro government to be a leading voice for Vanderbilt’s advocacy and partnership efforts at the local level,” said Nathan Green, vice chancellor for government and community relations. “We look forward to leveraging his expertise as we grow our relationships with community leaders and enhance our impact on the Nashville community.”
Cathey is joining the university’s Government and Community Relations team from Calvert Street Group, where he has guided mixed-use, commercial real estate and sports stadium projects through municipal regulatory processes—with a focus on Davidson County—since March 2021. He has worked with Fortune 500 companies and municipal government leaders to navigate complex land issues through state and local boards, commissions and elected bodies.
He previously was employed by the Metro Codes and Planning Department as special assistant to the director. In that role, he advised departmental leadership on community engagement, city council and communications issues. Cathey also served as director of community engagement for then-Mayor David Briley, with responsibilities that included building and nurturing relationships with community, neighborhood and business leaders.
Before his career in Metro, Cathey was a foreign service officer for the State Department in India and worked in advocacy and communications for nonprofits and public relations firms for nearly a decade in Nashville and Chicago.
In 2009, Cathey earned a master of arts in political and international studies from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, where he was a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar. He completed his undergraduate studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, where he majored in political science and the classics.
Cathey is a former board member of Nashville’s Emerging Leaders and has volunteered for the Live Like Lou/Vanderbilt University Medical Center ALS Research Center Campaign since 2020.
“I am honored for my new role that will help amplify the university’s perspective on local initiatives and legislative priorities,” Cathey said. “This is an exciting time to be at Vanderbilt, especially with the university’s commitment to strengthening ties to Nashville and opportunities for mutually beneficial collaboration. I cannot wait to get started.”